Hispanics and the American Future.

By Carlos E. Cortés / Univision PR

Welcome to my new blog series on Univision Insights, “Hispanics and the American Future.”

Let’s begin with a couple of thanks. First, to Univision for hosting this blog series and second to the readers joining me on this journey of contemplation and conversation.

So why initiate this blog series now? Because it’s the right time.

The 2010 Census made that clear. In raw numbers, U.S. Hispanics have officially passed the 50 million mark to become nearly one sixth of our nation.

This blog series, and the conversation I hope it provokes, will address the significance behind these numbers by dealing with three important, interrelated questions:

– What has brought Hispanics to this landmark moment?
– How can we better understand the contemporary Hispanic experience?
– What does the Hispanic presence mean for the future of our nation?

Since I’ll be leading this conversation, let me introduce myself. My name is Carlos Cortés. I’m a retired history professor, having taught for 26 years at the University of California, Riverside. Since my retirement in 1994, I’ve been doing all sorts of things, including:

Writing articles and books, such as The Children Are Watching: How the Media Teach about Diversitym, and The Making – and Remaking – of a Multiculturalist.

– Lecturing, giving workshops and consulting on such topics as Hispanics, diversity in the United States, global cultures, intergroup relations and intercultural communication.
– Writing my memoir, Rose Hill: An Intermarriage before Its Time that was published this past March.
– Performing my one-person autobiographical play, A Conversation with Alana: One Boy’s Multicultural Rite of Passage.
– Editing the forthcoming, Multicultural America: A Multimedia Encyclopedia.

Through these initiatives I’ve given considerable thought to our future as Hispanics and as Americans. One thing that struck me is how much we have been defined in the public eye by others – government entities, politicians, pundits, and the media – sometimes well and other times not fully satisfying.

I concluded that we need to do a better job of defining ourselves, for the rest of America and among ourselves. My blog series seeks to do this by:

– Looking at ourselves as a people, 50 million strong and growing.
– Investigating topics such as the changing Latino culture and the developing Hispanic identity.
– Reconsidering Hispanics’ significance for U.S. society, including our unique place in the nation’s multicultural mosaic.
– Illuminating what Hispanics are and, just as important, what we are not, particularly in light of the ways that we have been depicted in popular American discourse.

This blog series will range far and wide about many topics related to Hispanics past, present, and future – analyzing, clarifying, and reframing. I hope you participate, too, by asking questions, providing insights, and offering alternate views.

So welcome to this blog series about Hispanics – or Latinos, if you prefer. And that’s what I’ll talk about in my next post: the words “Hispanic” and” Latino.” See you then.

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